It is December! The silly season has officially arrived and the countdown is definately on to Christmas. For many, Christmas is a time to catch up with family and friends. However, that is sometimes a difficult thing to do as family and friends move towns and cities, and sometimes even countries. Luckily technology has evolved to compensate for this distance.
A Christmas card popped in the mail has transformed into a more instantaneous form of communication. Social media has revolutionised how we connect with one another and an increasing number of people are reaping the benefits of it. This trend has not only been seen within the younger generations; more and more Seniors are using social media. According to a report published by Pew Research Centre in 2015, 35% of all American adults aged 65 and older said they were on social media. That’s more than triple what was reported in 2010, when only 11% said they were social media users. Although this study is American, many other countries are experiencing similar growth as older people go ‘online.’ The main reasons for this sudden jump include reconnecting with old friends and simply bridging generational gaps. Social media does not limit itself to reconnecting with family and friends, it also has the potential to extend social networks and make new friends which can be important for older people who live alone and may feel isolated.
How can I learn?
Computer savvy family and friends could be the first port of call if an older person is wanting to know how social media works. There are also more formalised ways of learning, through community groups such as Social Seniors and SeniorNet who provide courses for older people wanting to get on the Internet, and learn more about new communication and information technology.
Things to watch out for
Now unfortunately, social media isn’t all positives. There are a number of things to look out for when connecting with people over the internet. Not everyone on social media sites is on there to make friends. Some use it as a tool to scam people. Please be careful and never give out personal details such as credit card numbers, bank details and PIN numbers, as you never know who could be behind a profile. Also, do not give out any details that people could use to steal your identity. Important information about this can be found on Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment NZ Consumer Protection
Over this coming month we will be exploring ways to make this Christmas the most enjoyable one yet! We will also be starting a weekly travel blog by Heather Gatland. These tips will be perfect for the holiday season.
If you are interested, you can read the full Pew Research Centre report here